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Somerset Accent and Dialect

Presentation outlining key features of the Somerset Accent and Dialect
by

Veronica Mervild

on 11 March 2013

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Transcript of Somerset Accent and Dialect

Somerset Accent and Dialect By Veronica Mervild Location Somerset is in the South West of England It is situated between Wiltshire, Dorset and Devon It has only two main cities, Bath and Wells It is mainly known for its prominence in agriculture Tourism is a major form of income for the county, in particular in Bath and in Cheddar Industry Agriculture is still a main source of income for the county - so somerset has not been affected by the industrial boom in the same way that other places were. In somerset they produced a lot of the war materials and equipment and this ammunition trade has continued. The tourist industry is also big by the coast Somerset also supplies stone to other parts of the country, so quarries are an important source of their industry History Somerset was occupied by the Saxons in 577

They defeated the Danes

King Alfred the Great created the Treaty of Wedmore

King Edgar was crowned in Bath Bridgewater and Taunton Canal was opened

County Boundaries were altered in 1898

County Avon was formed in 1974


County Avon was abolished in 1986 Stereotypes They're all farmers
It's not a 'professional accent'
They are seen to be friendly
They can't read or write but they can drive tractors Consonantal Variants

The consonant S is spoken as a 'z' so people from Somerset call their county 'Zummerzet'






A second example is that in a Somerset accent, an ‘F’ sound is pronounced as a ‘V’ Phonological Variables Vowel Differences acker (acre), affeard (afraid) agoon (soon) agging (egging on) allernbatch (old sore) anywhen (at any time) apurt (sullen) benny (to lose your temper) blad (idiot) blid (blood) buckle (struggle) bullhaggle (scarecrow) chuggy pig (woodlouse) chump (log for fire) churn (bad woman) comical (peculiar) coupie (crouch) crewnting (complaining) cruel (very) croust (picnic lunch) daps (sports shoes) dimpsy (twilight) dinder (thunder) doughboy (dumpling) dreckley (soon) elsh (new) eute (pour out) fitty (clever) fump (essence of) grockle (tourist or visitor) guddle (to drink greedily) gurt (big or great) haling (coughing) hilts and gilts (male and female piglets) huppenstop (raised stone platform) mang (mix) jasper (wasp) plimmed (swollen) thic (that) Lexical Differences Vowel sounds are often longer than they would be in RP accents.


They often add an ‘R’ sound to vowels, in particular when using words with an ‘A’ in them.
(hence the pirate stereotype)


Long ‘a’ vowels are represented by æ (as in cat) or a: (as in part) Rhoticity In somerset they speak with a rhotic r. Other Features H-Dropping In Somerset they often
H drop, in particular when the word before ends on a consonant, so the two words almost run into one

e.g. combine 'arvester. Influences There are relatively few influences on the Somerset accent, perhaps because of it's sheltered geographical location.

Celtic is one of the influences because there were some minor Irish settlements in Somerset.

Anglo Saxon is the main influence and this causes a lot of the differences in pronunciation.

"The dialect is not, as some people suppose, English spoken in a slovenly and ignorant way. It is the remains of a language - the court language of King Alfred. Many words, thought to be wrongly pronounced by the countryman, are actually correct, and it is the accepted pronunciation which is wrong.

English pronounces W-A-R-M worm, and W-O-R-M wyrm; in the dialect W-A-R-M is pronounced as it is spelt, Anglo-Saxon W-E-A-R-M. The Anglo-Saxon for worm is W-Y-R-M.

Polite English pronounces W-A-S-P wosp; the Anglo-Saxon word is W-O-P-S and a Somerset man still says WOPSE. The verb To Be is used in the old form, I be, Thee bist, He be, We be, Thee 'rt, They be. 'Had I known I wouldn't have gone', is 'If I'd a-know'd I 'ooden never a-went'; 'A' is the old way of denoting the past tense, and went is from the verb to wend (Anglo-Saxon wendan)." J.A. Garton's Observations J.A. Garton observed in 1971, traditional Somerset English has a venerable, and respectable origin, and is not a mere "debasement" of Standard English: Comedy Interpretations of the Somerset Accent The Wurzels Chris Moyles Thank you for listening
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